Wednesday, May 18, 2011

5 Lessons I Learned From Being a Vendor at the Riverside Arts Market

It was chaotic, but I have fond memories of the time I spent as a vendor at the Riverside Arts Market two years ago. Colorful art, homegrown vegetables, affordable eats, and good music surrounded us. It was an enriching and inspiring atmosphere. This post will reveal the 5 most important lessons I learned from being a vendor at a local arts market, and why you should take the leap and do the same!

1. I Had No Art Ready. But You Should!

Don't be like me, have your art and supplies ready before renting a booth! I already worked more than 50 hours per week at a day job; I rarely slept when you added making merchandise for the art market. I was always rushed and didn't produce a line I was proud of.

2.    You Just Have to Take the Leap. 

It's scary to put yourself out there, but if you can financially take the risk, do it! You can always split your table or booth with others to save money. (I sold art with Nicole Middleton and Fenna Blue, it was fun! )

3.    Make Connections with Your Fellow Creators.

Make friends with your fellow creators, vintage lovers, and artists; they are your kindred spirits. I made so many friends though my time at the Riverside Arts Market. It was my unofficial introduction to the Jacksonville artist community, and I wouldn't know about some of my favorite events (like Dr. Sketchy's!) if I didn't go through with it.

4.    Be The Batman of Organization; Brutal, Efficient.

Before you even consider getting started though, get organized. Hyper organized! Be pedantic. Take inventory of every single supply you'll need to be successful. Have all of your inventory neatly packed and ready to go!

5.    Now I'm Ready to Craft a New Line: Slowly!

My time at the Riverside Arts Market was exhausting, but rewarding and well worth it. Now my art mojo is back and I'm ready to create as much merchandise as possible for the future. I'm going to take my time and produce a line I can be proud to display and sell.

You should take your time and do the same, slowly make a real line. Think about the theme, the color pallate, and what you wan to communicate. Be prolific and make a large selection for buyers to choose from.

On Selling Your Art: I love the connection you make when you sell your art to someone face to face, it's an exchange of ideas and experiences that can't be beat. I love how strangers can relate to something you've created, they take a piece of your soul with them to cherish. It's amazing to meet people that relate to your style and vision. I'll be back to sell art again one day, but only after I patiently produce something good!

Nothing's Stopping You: Make it, then Get Out There and Sell it!
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  1. what would batman do? :P love that... thanks for sharing your tips. and i like that you'll try it again, when the time is right

  2. thanks for the tips! it's always great to hear the behind the scenes of a flea market vendor!

  3. You had me up until the organized statement. My downfall. I can do all the planning and prepwork, I am a great list maker, and my intentions are impecible. It is just my environment that is a disaster. If I would get to the part of having the van loaded and on my way I know I could do great things and have a fun time.

  4. Good tips! It has been a long time since I did a craft fair. We had a brick and mortar store as well and did consignments, so we personally did not have to produce every single item, thank goodness, and our consignees loved that we sold for them.

    One of my thoughts on being organized, is the booth design and display, take time to plan it out and be ready to reworking your display when things start selling.

  5. Ana: I love to incorporate THE Batman whenever possible!

    Jessica: It's actually an Art Market and not a Flea Market in this case. I've sold at a Flea Market and it's an entirely different environment with a different set of rules for success around these parts.

  6. Dogsmom: Not being organized kills everything! When everything is packed, listed, in its place, and ready to go ahead of time everything runs smoothly, otherwise…chaos!

    Victoria: You're quite right! It's a good idea to stage everything in advance and make sure everything is easily accessible. The look of your booth is so important.

  7. this is all such great advise and all sooo true! i learn something each time i have a show and i think i am getting better and better! wish i had this when i first started ;D


  8. awesome post! I feel inspired, thanx for sharing your lessons.

  9. We live close! I live in Temecula :) If you are talking about Riverside CA..if not disregard this haha! Good advice. I think people get so caught up in starting and selling right away they dont take the time to fully think through the creative process


    Delighted Momma

  10. Linday, thanks for following. I'm in Riverside, Jacksonville, though!

    CB: Very true, you get better and learn something new every time. Each time you don't forget another vital thing, ha!

  11. I am a vendor at the Riverside Art Market and I love, love, love it!! I have a wonderful following of customers there.

    I totally agree with you organization, originality of your booth, and art work that you are truly passionate about is what sells! It is so exciting to see customers get excited about their purchase! Great Blog!! :-)


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